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1914 Dennis Lorry


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Thanks for all the positive comments about the award. The Transport Trust award scheme has really helped out so I would recommend it to people for next year.


I have taken this photo to better illustrate the pulley arrangement. The bronze bearing extends from the timing case quite a long way (to around 1mm from my pulley hub); without knowing this it looks like there is a massive length of unsupported shaft. The pump pulley is still quite a way from the pulley hub (a little over 2"). I have not run the engine since connecting this drive up. 


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I decided to buy a new tool to help me reduce the length of the universal joint hub; an expanding mandrel.



Using the lathe and chucking on the male tapered portion I drove the sleeve into the hub until the hub was tightly gripped and supported the other end of the mandrel with a revolving centre and faced the hub off to length.



And could then try the hub in the jaw to check the fit.



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I reamed the hole out in the other universal joint until I could drive in the pin.


Then put the bronze blocks in place and measured the overall length.


It worked out a few thousands of an inch too long to fit into the socket so I lapped the blocks down on some silicon carbide paper. Then I was able to wrestle the fairly heavy prop shaft into place.




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Although the rectangular brackets for the ignition timing transverse shaft were functional, they offended me every time I opened the bonnet so I removed them and shaped them using the milling machine and file. Finally I drilled oiling holes with a centre drill.



One of the parts I still need to make is a wind screen with a wire edge. I have never done this before so decided to give it a practice. I started by folding up an edge around a piece of steel plate using a hammer.



And then continued to form it around the wire with a hammer.


I will be using 1/8" diameter rod and 0.9mm steel so I have ordered a 5mm ball end slot drill to make up some forming tools.


That's it for this week. Hopefully we will go for a little drive over the next week.

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Many other tasks got in the way this week; the lorry went in and out of the garage a few times but never under its own power. At least the prop shaft has rotated several times. We adjusted the transmission brake up a little; we can still push it on the flat and it easily stops the lorry on the slope of the yard. It always seems a good idea to get the stopping sorted out before making them go.

As the sign writer is booked in, I have been concentrating on getting the remaining beading fitted. Another task is to get the hoop fitted to the back but it needs to swap garages with the 1908 Dennis where there is extra height and enough space for the sign writer to walk all the way around.





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I did not have any long lengths of 1/8 wire for edging the windscreen. Instead I silver soldered three 1m welding rods together and proceeded as before but this time with a planishing hammer.


After closing the sheet metal up onto the wire I applied plenty of paint around the edge in an attempt to fill any gaps and prevent future water ingress.


I still need to add a slight bend, drill some mounting holes and paint it.

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We moved the lorries out so they could swap garages and allow enough space around the 1914 Dennis for signwriting and lining.IMG_4447s.thumb.jpg.3086c446a15e7ff883db660599aff409.jpg

It was difficult to resist the chance to start it and take it for a very small drive.

It was less successful than it looks in the video. There was a mechanical grinding noise when trying to select reverse rather than any actual motion. I hope the smoke was just the copious amount of oil that I applied during assembly but further trials will answer that question.

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The grinding noise when selecting reverse turned out to be the heads of the bolts on the universal joint hitting the selector drop arm. This will be an easy fix as it just requires some material removing from the side of the arm.


However, on further investigation I was not moving any selector rod far enough for the detent plungers to move into their slots so the gears were not fully in mesh. In the case of reverse, the gears have to move a lot further so they were not coming into contact at all. After a bit of head scratching it became obvious that the gate I am using (it came of the remains of a Dennis turntable ladder using the same gearbox), had a longer drop arm. Looks like I need to make a new gate.

I decided to stop there and carry on with fitting and priming the beading on the cab so it will be ready for the sign writer.


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38 minutes ago, Citroman said:

Looks great. The UJ with the bronze blocks is the same system as used on the Fiat 500 driveshafts..😉

I am trying to work out if there is any point in the knob at the end being spherical. It seems like all the location should be on the bronze blocks, so a simple T-shape would have worked just as well? 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎6‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 1:16 PM, DAN THE STEAM said:

A really impressive job there, well done indeed. (\,,/)

Thanks Dan.


Having booked the signwriter I wanted to fit the angle iron hoop to the back of the lorry. One less job that could scratch the paint. After a trial fitting I trimmed it to length and cut notches for the brackets.



The brackets needed slight adjustment with a file before they would slot into place.


I was also able to paint the beading on the cab sides.




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I attacked the drop arm with an angle grinder to thin it down and give plenty of clearance between it and the universal joint nuts. I also built up the diameter of the knob at the end with weld by about 1/16" to reduce the play in the jaws. Finally I added a chamfer on either side of the knob to guide it between the jaws as the lever crosses the selector gate. That gave slightly more motion in the selector rods, as did taking some of the clearance out of the spherical bearing on the shaft.



I took the gear stick off and used the press to add a slight bend as there was virtually no clearance as the handbrake lever passed the Bakelite knob.



Some more clearance for the gear lever was achieved by cutting some of the ash from the frame.



With the caps removed from the gearbox detent plungers I was able to see when each gear was fully engaged and recorded the positions. Unfortunately, second gear requires the lever to be in the petrol tank. 


On the selector gate I was using the neutral position was about 1/2" behind the centre line of the casting and I made the shaft to suit that position. If I make a new shaft to place all the gear positions further forwards it should put everything right but I will run a few tests with a key removed or a new shaft before starting to draw up the new selector gate.


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  • 3 weeks later...

A short notice work trip meant I had to put off the signwriter but I hope he will start shortly.

I made a new shaft for the gear selector, moving the neutral position forwards. I removed the covers from the detent plungers to check I was achieving the full motion of the selector rods. This allowed me to measure up for the new selector gate and draw up the parts for laser cutting. Having placed the order I hope they will arrive this week.

The fan bracket was not as rigid as I had hoped so I have made this spacer to tie it back to one of the tapped holes on the front cylinder block.



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I have collected the latest batch of laser cutting. Once I have welded these pieces together I hope to have a functional selector gate. The incorrect gate is shown on the right.



I have one original Ernest Shentall apple crate and have copied the text from it and included these stencils in the laser cutting order.



The signwriter was here on Thursday and Friday and has made some really good progress. The lining and text is copied from the factory photo. There is still quite a bit more lining to go on; it breaks up the vast expanse of red but lets hope it does not end up looking like a fairground ride!



I can't be certain of the history of the lorry between 1914 and when Mick collected it in the 1990s. Ernest Shentall (as Mayor of Chesterfield) was heavily involved with fundraising for the war effort but I suspect that he did not go as far as donating his lorry. It is still strange to think of all the requisitioned lorries being used by the War Office in their original operators livery especially when many were intended to draw attention.

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The signwriter has lined out the cab, mudguards and bonnet. It was easier for him if we removed the rear mudguards and bonnet. Over the week of studying the photos we spotted there were also lines on the dumb irons so he added those.



Another error we spotted was that there should have been a diamond (rather than a dot) in the centre of the line under Chesterfield.



The windscreen was lined out as well. I just need to finish shaping and painting the brackets.


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I welded the stack of laser cutting together to form the new gear selector gate.



Then after tapping the holes out, blasting and priming I was able to try it in place.


It has been taken off again for painting after checking that gears can be selected (actually second requires a little more wood removing from the seat).

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As the bonnet was off I cleaned out the tapped hole in the front cylinder block and fitted the additional pillar to support the fan bracket. I then marked the location to drill the fan bracket and after checking everything lined up removed it all for further painting.


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I am close to the soft furnishing stage so decided to make a start by cutting some rubberised horse hair to match the board for the back cushion.



I decided to use two layers and put a few stitches through the layers to keep them aligned. It looked a bit square so I chamfered the edge.



And then fixed a layer of hessian over the top. The final covering will be leather but that will wait for another day.





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